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Dr Kumar Aniket
19 Torrington Place
Dr Kumar Aniket profile picture
  • Research Associate: Economics and Finance of the Built Environment
  • The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

I am an Economist by training. I obtained my PhD at LSE under the supervision of Prof. Maitreesh Ghatak and Prof. Oriana Bandiera in 2007.

Before joining UCL as a core-funded Research Fellow in 2017, I was a Lecturer and Director of Studies in Economics at the University of Cambridge from 2007 to 2017. At Cambridge, I was a Trustee and Member of Governing Council of Murray Edwards College from 2013–2017.

I was also a Fellow of Murray Edwards College from 2007 to 2017, a Senior Member of Newnham College from 2012 to 2017 and Director of Studies in Economics for Trinity College from 2007 to 2012.

I obtained my Bachelors in Economics (Honours) at Hindu College and Masters in Economics at Delhi School of Economics at Delhi University. I also have a MA (Cantab) from Cambridge.

Research Summary

What fundamentally motivates my research is a curiosity to understand the causes of poverty. Understanding poverty requires unravelling the mechanisms that trap households and countries in poverty. This, in turn, requires understanding the conceptual idea of the poverty traps, i.e., a set of feedback loops that make it difficult for households and countries to escape from its clutches. It is an issue that plagues both developing and developed societies alike and affects a broad range of policy issues. Understanding poverty traps requires distinguishing between the mechanisms and feedback loops at play at the household level and country level.

Individual-level poverty traps: My research papers in microfinance use contract theory and information economics to examine how microfinance institutions can be designed to help give households the wherewithal to escape the poverty trap. These are papers that focus on improving the design of microfinance institutions to alleviate poverty.

Country-level poverty traps: While we constantly use terms like infrastructure and public capital in policy-making, their role in modern economic growth theory is still not well understood. My research examines the role public capital formation process plays in and trapping countries in a low per-capita income trap and forgoing potential gains from productivity.

My research also tries to understand the conceptual definition of infrastructure and the role social spaces play in either allowing markets to function efficiently or in preventing them from doing so.

Infrastructure: While infrastructure is often seen as the solution to all problems, the definition of infrastructure varies from discipline to discipline. The surprising fact is that there is no universal definition of infrastructure in either academia or the policy-making world. In my ongoing work on infrastructure, I am trying to find a cogent definition of infrastructure from the first principles and aim to develop a functional taxonomy for infrastructure.

Markets: Like infrastructure, while the term market is often used across disciplines, its meaning varies across disciplines and contexts. What is striking is that the the relationship between markets and social space, as conceptualised by the philosopher Henri Lefebvre, is still not well-understood. My on-going research examines the relationship between markets and social space.

My research draws from both Economics and Philosophy and explores the complicated relationship between social spaces and markets. It is also a strand of research that explores the surprising commonality that exists between Friedrich Hayek’s and Henri Lefebvre’s notion of the market. This is particularly surprising because Hayek and Lefebvre are philosophers that have inspired work on the opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Teaching Summary

I have spent the last two decades teaching and specialising in the pedagogy of Economics. I taught Economics at LSE, Edinburgh, Cambridge previously before joining UCL in 2017. I got interested in the pedagogy of Economics as a PhD student at LSE when I found myself teaching Macroeconomics for a course run by future Nobel laureates Sir Christopher Pissarides and Prof Charles Bean. Both of them were excellent teachers and mentors who instilled the love of pedagogy in me.

From 2007 to 2017, I was a Director of Studies of Economics at various colleges in Cambridge. Cambridge gave me the opportunity and latitude to develop a unique pedagogy of Economics. I was able to borrow from my training in street theatre. In this approach, the educator draws from the life experiences of the students to create a curiosity about the topic, which then becomes the basis of the learning trajectory. It ensures that the learning process continues once the student leaves the classroom.

I have created some of the highest-rated courses at the Barlett School of Sustainable Construction (formerly known as the School for Construction and Project Management). The list of the courses I have created thus far along with the course material are given below.

Academic Background
2011   MA Cantab University of Cambridge
2007   Doctor of Philosophy London School of Economics and Political Science
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